Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry is heading to China for a two-day visit to participate in the eighth ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum that is scheduled to take place on 10 June.
Prior to the forum, the minister is scheduled to hold a number of bilateral meetings with Chinese officials. According to ministry’s spokesperson, Ahmed Abou Zaid, Shoukry will meet with his counterpart, Wang Yi, and Vice President Wang Qishan.
Shoukry will also give a speech during the forum that will be held at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), and he is supposed to attend a number of televised interviews, ahead of the forum with Chinese channels.
The forum is seeking to activate and support Arab-Chinese relations in various fields, especially in the economic field. It will also discuss regional issues of common concern and follow up on the implementation of the forum’s work programme.
The Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum was established in 2004 at the initiative of former Chinese president Hu Jintao, aiming at enhancing the international, political, economic, and cultural cooperation between Arab countries and China. Since then, seven editions of the ministerial meetings have been held, as well as other high-level political and strategic talks between senior officials of participating countries.
Regarding the importance of the visit to China, Abo Zaid said that the Egyptian-Chinese relations are particularly important, in light of historical relations between the two countries. Egypt was the first Arab or African country to establish diplomatic relations with China, in 1956.
The Chinese direct investments in Egypt are just under $7bn, Han Bing, minister counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Cairo, told Daily News Egypt on 4 June, adding that Chinese financial institutions injected $5bn into the Egyptian financial market over the past two years. According to the embassy’s latest statistics, bilateral trade exchange with Egypt witnessed an increase by 26%, during the first quarter of 2018, reaching $2.8bn compared to the same period last year.